C. M. Kornbluth

(July 2, 1923 — March 21, 1958)

An American fan and pro writer who was a notable member of the Futurians. He started writing in 1939 with "The Rocket of 1955," which was published in the fanzine Escape, but he went off to war and did not turn to professional writing until 1949. He was married to Mary Kornbluth.

He came into fandom through the Washington Heights SFL] and soon joined the Futurians, where he lived for a time at various Futurian Houses. He was one of the six who were excluded from the 1939 Worldcon (see Exclusion Act), though he was later kicked out of the Futurians in one of their internal feuds (See X Document.) He was a member of FAPA and participated in the Blitzkrieg. He attended Centracon during his stay in Chicago. See also Dadaism, Gone Pro, and Metaphysical Poetry for more Kornbluth fannishnes.

During his decade of writing he particularly excelled in short fiction including classics like "The Little Black Bag", "Two Dooms", and "The Marching Morons", but he also wrote novels, mostly in collaboration with fellow Futurians Frederik Pohl or Judith Merril. He was fond of pen-names, including Cecil Corwin, S. D. Gottesman, and many others.

Fred Pohl tells the story that Kornbluth decided to educate himself by reading his way through an entire encyclopedia from A to Z; in the course of this effort, he acquired a great deal of esoteric knowledge that found its way into his stories…in alphabetical order by subject. When Kornbluth wrote a story that mentioned the ancient Roman weapon ballista, Pohl knew that Kornbluth had finished the "A" volume and had started the "B".

Kornbluth died at age 34 after shoveling out his driveway and then running to make his train, he suffered a heart attack on the platform of the train station. His death, along with a number of others caused the (still very young fandom) to call 1958 "the Year of the Jackpot". A Founding Member tribute to Kornbluth by Jon D. Swartz appears in the August, 2016 issue (Volume 75, Number 8) of The National Fantasy Fan.


For more on his career, see: http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/kornbluth_c_m